Cahors is main city of Lot and the historical center of the Quercy. Nestled in a meander of the Lot and surrounded by steep arid limestone hills, this historic city is home to a great monumental diversity, mainly inherited from Roman times and the Middle Ages. The city’s monuments are Saint-Étienne cathedral, Roman walls, the famous Valentré bridge (a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of the pilgrimage path to Santiago de Compostela), and the historical city centre. Famed for its wine and gastronomy (truffles and foie gras), this southern French city holds the label of the French Towns of Art and History. The Cadurcian economy is reliant on tertiary services and makes Cahors the economic centre of the Lot region. Cahors has had a rich history since Celtic times. The original name of the town was Divona or Divona Cadurcorum, “Divona of the Cadurci”. Divona was a fountain, now called “la fontaine des Chartreux”, worshiped by the Cadurci, a Celtic people of Gaul before the Roman conquest in the 50s BC. The Cadurci were among the last Celtic tribes to resist the Roman invasion. However, romanization was rapid and profound. Cahors became a large Roman city, with many monuments whose remnants can be seen today. It has declined economically since the Middle Ages, and lost its university in the 18th century. Today it is a popular tourist centre with people coming to enjoy its medieval quarter and the 14th-century fortified Valentré bridge.
It was also infamous at that time for having bankers who charged interest on their loans. The church said, that using money in itself was a sin. Because of this, Cahors became synonymous with sin, and was mentioned in Dante’s Inferno alongside Sodom as wicked. Pope John XXII, born Jacques Duèze or d’Euse, was born in Cahors in 1244, as the son of a shoemaker. In the 2007 Tour de France, Cahors was the start of stage 18. In the 2022 Tour de France, Cahors was the finish line of stage 19.
The area around Cahors produces wine, primarily robust and tannic red wine. It is an Appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC) (Controlled designation of origin) associated with part of the South West France wine-region. The dominant grape variety in AOC Cahors wines, Malbec (known locally as “Auxerrois” or “Côt”) must make up a minimum of 70% of the wine. Winemakers may supplement the Malbec with up to 30% Merlot and/or Tannat. Marketers may use the designation AOC Cahors only for red wines, which they distribute together with white and rosé wine produced in the same area under the designation Vin de Pays du Lot. Today’s wine-growing area lies mainly west of the city of Cahors. The most important vineyards are Mercuès, Parnac, Luzech, Prayssac, Grézels, Puy-l’Éveque and Vire sur Lot, all located in the valley of the Lot river.
Cahors is only a one hour drive from our castle. We strongly recommend this destination for exploration.